Since the explosion in the Port of Beirut just over 2 years ago, Lebanon has been in a free fall. Socioeconomic problems have led to unemployment and political instability. In May, Lebanon held legislative elections, highlighted by a huge turnout and changes in the traditionally corrupt majority parties. However, politically the country is in a deadlock, with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati unable to form a government. [source]
KJ 1: It is unlikely that there will be a conflict between Hezbollah and Israel in the next 3 months.
- Israel and Lebanon are in a dispute over the Karish natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea over a floating production, storage and offloading vessel. Lebanon claims that the field is in disputed water and so any activity by Israel would be a hostile act. [source]
- Hezbollah has stated that it will not allow Israel to steal from Lebanon’s natural wealth. Moreover, on 2 July, the Israeli Defence Force shot down three Hezbollah drones heading towards Karish field. [source]
- However, war is unlikely to result from occasional cross-border incidents between Israel and Hezbollah. Incidents involving rockets, UAVs, or operatives will unlikely result in conflict between the two. [source]
- In the past rocket strikes from both sides have increased tensions but should a war break out, it could have bad consequences for Lebanon’s infrastructure. [source]
KJ 2: Mass unrest will likely continue in the next 3 months with protests and demonstrations.
- Civil unrest is high at the moment in Lebanon with socio-economic difficulties plaguing the nation. The economy has shrunk for the last four quarters and is likely to continue in this trend for the next quarter. [source]
- Political instability and deadlock will negatively affect basic services increasing the likelihood of protests and demonstrations. Banks and government buildings will likely be targeted with increasing violence as protests become more common. [source]
- Economic improvement is unlikely because failure to implement financial sector restructuring hampers future growth. Lebanon relies on Ukraine for the majority of its wheat. Moreover, high fuel and food prices are likely to cause increased inflation. [source]
- Trade is predominantly conducted in US Dollars which is leaving the Lebanese lira short of value. It has lost roughly 95% of its value since the end of 2019. [source]
KJ 3: It is likely that humanitarian issues will increase in Lebanon over the next 3 months.
- Fuel and food prices make it difficult for impoverished people in Lebanon to afford basic goods. Moreover, Lebanese political elites are unwilling to undertake thorough economic and political reforms needed to overcome Lebanon’s internal challenges. [source]
- Foreign aid from the IMF has been agreed upon, as long as Lebanon implements various reforms, none of which have been implemented due to political stalemate. [source]
- Strains on the country’s security forces being underpaid and stretched thinner by internal conflict could lead to more unrest and instability. This will be exacerbated by Hezbollah’s allies’ shortcomings in the legislative elections in May. [source]
- The political deadlock with further paralyse policymaking and delay foreign financial assistance, and potentially the provision of basic public services and critical goods imports leading to further economic woes. [source]
Intelligence Cut-Off Date 28 August 2022